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Jordan Spieth Takes Early Lead at British Open

21 July, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Christina Hansen
  • Spieth landed back to back majors in 2015 but has not won another since

He did get to the gym but played nearly zero golf. But I think it's exciting, exciting for us as players.

Prayad Marksaeng, trying to make the first cut in his sixth Open, was also in deep trouble.

Easier than it ought to have been, at any rate, given the cloudy, windy conditions that greeting him at Royal Birkdale when he teed off just past 9:45 a.m. for his first round of the 2017 Open Championship.

England's Richard Bland - appearing at his first Open since Birkdale in 1998 - also shot 67 after ending his round in stunning fashion with three consecutive birdies, while a host of players went round in 68, two under par.

The former Masters and U.S. Open champion was in form coming into the tournament, after winning the Travelers Championship in his last outing. For most of the day, the wind was consistent, and the afternoon players were treated to some rare British sunshine.

Jon Rahm found himself incurring a two-shot penalty on the 17th when he hit his tee shot into thick rough left of the fairway.

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"But 17 was actually a bad lie in the bunker".

If they were rusty, you'd hate to see greased. Both are looking for their first British Open title. Every Open champion this decade has come in straight from some fracas that ended the previous Sunday - the Scottish Open for six of them, the John Deere for the other.

Spieth's clubhouse advantage didn't last long, however.

Spieth, with two PGA Tour wins this year, was not flawless in tough conditions in the morning, but the world No. 3 was able to mitigate his few miscues with scrambling saves and a hot putter.

It was Spieth's best start in a major since he opened with a 66 at the Masters a year ago. "It's just been the one thing that's been off this year".

"My ball-striking has been better in any years that I've ever played golf", Spieth said, and he meant it. It's been about capitalizing, which is frustrating, considering I'm used to seeing the ball go in. "I didn't really dream I'd be sitting here and being the leader after round one, so far anyway".

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"I brushed my teeth and then I ate breakfast". "I think he's got as good a shot as anybody". Those near-misses have been a familiar refrain for Spieth, who is 36 in putting this season - his worst ranking since his rookie year, but no reason to sound the alarms, either. He seems to have a singular inner motor that responds to utmost challenge and finds tedium in depressurized situations.

Australian Peter Thomson won his first Open title at Birkdale in 1954 and his fifth and final back here in 1965.

The Irishman won his second successive Claret Jug on the Southport links in the event's last appearance at the venue in 2008, finishing with a flourish with a brilliant five-wood to three feet for an eagle at the 71st hole to ensure he won by four strokes.

Spieth said this was indicative of the strength of the game and how, on any given four days, very little separated the top 50 players in the world.

If he's playing his father, he said, he'll "shoot 75 every time, or higher", he said. If you take some time off and kind of recharge mentally, physically, I feel like I'm in really good shape right now, even with that time off. It's nice to come back. "And if you play well, you're going to have a chance with these other guys who are equally as capable". "And anytime you're excited, you're extremely focused when you're out here". "I was one under through two, and I thought I better keep it in and it's still in now", Spieth said.

Spieth had everything down to his usual science. So numerous expectations of Spieth now are measured against that season. At six, he hit four-iron, again to the front of the green, the defensive play on a hole where attack is reckless. Spieth ordinarily isn't a gum-chewer, but on the range his instructor, Cameron McCormick offered him a piece of mint gum.

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